Request a meeting with your higher self, and listen fully.

I hope that 2018 is the year that we begin to pay more attention to that part of us, which is bold enough to keep whispering those “supposedly impossible” desires into our hearts. What does it know that we haven’t yet accepted about ourselves? I ignored that nagging, optimistic whisper for most of my life, choosing instead to follow the noise of what “I should do”. Until one day, I showed up as a disgruntled CEO of my life, looking at the meager returns of joy that my expectations were bringing in. Not one doubtful thought or excuse had anything uplifting to show for itself and I couldn’t help but feel ashamed about permitting  that mindset to be in charge of my life for so long. It was time to pay closer attention to that persistent quiet voice of inner confidence that kept whispering of a better way of being. I think that we all have that part of us that keeps our desires alive against the will of our doubts. Have you considered that this part of us may already have an elaborate plan to fulfill those ideals if we allowed it? We are so conditioned to give more attention to the inner dialogue of doubt that is quick to question the likelihood of successfully achieving the growth that our soul yearns to experience. Yet, our doubt(s) cannot see the end of time, so it can never truly present meaningful proof as to why you shouldn’t follow your heart. So why shouldn’t we hear out this dreamer buried deep inside of all of us.  This is your higher self that is receiving that inspiration for you to try one more time to get healthy, to leave that unfulfilling relationship, share your gifts with the world, etc. Yes, you know that part of you that is brazen enough to create torn in your heart by keeping that one wish alive in your soul. Clearly, it believes in us and I beg of you to finally give it a chance to make it’s case as to why it’s so unwilling to abandon your heart’s desire. See if it’s possible that it is more persuasive and qualified to run your life that the underperforming critic you may have been rubbing shoulders with.

So just for once, call upon your higher self to boast freely as to why it continues to urge you to seek more fulfillment in life. Does it know that you are really good at researching and could learn all that you need to get started and this knowledge would spark something unstoppable inside of you. Maybe, it knows that you’re really good at problem solving and you would be relentless in finding solutions to whatever hurdles come up if you kept your higher self in charge. Maybe it knows that you are great at focusing on one thing at a time and would eventually become an expert in your craft. Perhaps, it knows that the freedom that you would feel from shifting into a new vision would enhance your confidence and empower you to add greater purpose and impact to your life. I encourage you to keep all your questions until the end and do not interrupt your higher self as it paints you a picture of your true unrealized potential. Rather, stand back and slowly get excited for its conviction and as you get carried away in these new details, allow that smirk on your face to grow. It will be hard not to feel impressed by this wild dreamer that is daring to bring remarkable fulfillment, abundance and peace into your life. Keep in mind that it will never be silent if you don’t give it the shot it’s been waiting for. Follow the signs in your body, if you feel lighter and more alive by the end of this imagining then don’t throw that hope away but make a deal to  be guided by your higher self going forward. Trust it’s desperate plea that you won’t regret promoting her or him to be in charge as it assures that it will not let your down. You see even in your skepticism, you cannot help but feel fired up by its enthusiasm and passion.

Many of us aren’t living the lives that we desire because we haven’t fully seen the vision that our potential has in store. We have given doubt free reign and allowed it to run the show in our lives with little to no returns. Isn’t it time to hear what our higher self has to say and give it an honest chance to implement some changes. What if it absolutely could breathe new life into our unfulfilling circumstances as it promises. I am not saying the you have to change your life in one swoop but you have a fully confident and competent part of you that keeps urging you to experience something better. Begin by just going within and calling a meeting with your higher self and then get behind its vision. Allow yourself to imagine that perhaps you do already have everything you need to get started and remain guided by your higher self to keep moving forward in living the life you were born to create.

 

When in doubt, have grace.

Funny enough, I think that we unknowingly begin the journey towards authenticity inflated with a naive assumption that a moment of instant courage permanently overthrows one’s limitating beliefs once and for all. I didn’t know that self doubt is a stubborn opponent, always lingering closely behind every missed step as we endeavor to express greater purpose and fulfillment. Indeed, we will REPEATEDLY pass through unexpected landscapes of uncertainty to accumulate enough distance between our old mental captivity. Like a fleeing hostage who is powered with fierce intention but periodically looks back in fear to gauge safety; bravery does not preclude occasionally questioning ourselves. As you pursue the truest and most valuable vision of your life, your enthusiasm may be tested as the reality of abandoning familiar patterns and choices takes hold. It’s akin to the sense of transient loneliness that gradually hits a person settling into a foreign city after the initial thrill of sight seeing passes. Take heed not to assault your wounded pride during these occasions of emotional limbo because you are only traveling through insecurity. Expect periodic melancholy as you are returning home to your true self as the sun expects to surrender the sky at dusk with confidence that it will always rise and shine again. Anticipating this forecast of rainy days as we share our light gives us the grace to trust our capacity to evolve through such circumstances.

We are peeling off layers of limitations that took years to weave and its during the ebb of our expansion that we get to pour more love into the remaining holes in our heart. When I find myself pondering whether I am big enough to fill the size of my of unfolding purpose, I remind myself that the destination is simply to be the fullest expression of myself, therefore I have nothing to lose in being as I am during any low moment in time. We must listen to the imaginings of our self doubt as a loving parent would console a whimpering child and reassure our qualms with a promise to love and accept ourselves under each grim prospect. Remaining emotionally  supportive of ourselves during doubts allows us to recognize that we are not our fears. This has a surprising effect of easing the tension in our minds. Perhaps, self doubt is simply our creative potential seeking reassurance that we are no longer playing favorites with our dignity and a graceful  resolve empowers us to put everything on the line.  Through self love, we emerge from doubt with greater commitment to our potential, an awareness that grounds us as we ride subsequent waves of insecurity.

When we finally discover that there’s no rush to this journey of being ourselves, then we recover from doubtful moments loaded with the type of anticipation that rushes over a person standing in their brand new empty home. We now get to choose which thoughts are allowed to linger in our minds as we would carefully decide how to transform a bare house into a cozy home. So when in doubt, I weigh each decision and objective by how it accommodates my sense of internal freedom for I did not heal old expectations only to be bound by more refined ones. Rather, let’s be patient in shaping the vision of the future once we rise from momentary uncertainty to ensure that the victory we crave truly liberates our soul and growth. If you are currently caught in a moment of such insecurity, wondering how the same old fears keep finding a way back to you, do not overlook the worries in your heart. As you wouldn’t ignore a dear friend whom you knew was hurting, sit besides your shaky pride and reassure yourself that you okay and have been here before. Dissolve every version of perceived judgement with a gentle reminder that soul is only longing to feel loved by you. Be a hero to that old version of yourself that you are rescuing from grips of fear and then do your future self a favor of being brave enough today to pull yourself up to keep moving forward in a way that feels truthful to who you are. For someday you will see the beauty in this moment, why not look for it today.

Lessons from vulnerability and rock bottom.

If you’ve been lucky enough to experience life thus far without undergoing the preverbal rock bottom occasion then you’re also probably living fairly honest with yourself. That’s because I believe that rock bottom is often the inevitable fallout of unsustainable inauthenticity. Having experienced a few these occasions (sometimes eras) , I recall that these were the occasions where I didn’t recognize my life as mine. It always felt as though I had been teleported into the bleak circumstances that were my new reality. After a prolonged series of self betraying choices, one final outcome suddenly ushers one into a new threshold of despair like a twist of the knife. Rock bottom events highlight the ideals that undermined loving ourselves by making the sudden absence of those factors incredibly painful. We become cornered into making one of two choices, surrender to our desperate desire to feel worthy despite our circumstances or painfully keep up appearances by picking up our broken expectations where we left us and try to revive them back to reality.

The first time I felt emotionally displaced in my life was settling into the lonely weight of becoming a single mother at age twenty one. I had suddenly gone from “full of potential” practically being my middle name to feeling relegated to the hypothetical rejects table watching the ‘important’ people mingle at the party. With every unsolicited opinion about the tremendous adversity awaiting me, I sensed potential was leaking out of me like air in a punctured tire. There was a looming fear and uncertainty about fulfilling the great hopes that I had for my future. And there was the loniless of socially braving the path of single parenting without others who understood your reality. Unfortunately, I didn’t choose to acquiesce my vulnerability and accept myself as good enough regardless of the presiding social perceptions. I didn’t forgive whatever mistakes I internalized but held myself to a new and higher standard of perfection to prove my worth. Being extremely hard on myself amidst my underlying perceived judgement from others created a perfect storm of disconnection and isolation. Finally becoming comfortable with vulnerability through self compassion has enabled me to heal my attachment to self limiting expectations and embrace greater authenticity and inspiration.

Our desire to be happy is the strongest when we feel vulnerable, therefore these are the true opportunities to love ourselves. Vulnerability symbolizes our strong human desire to be our true loving selves when we fear that it may not be safe to do so. While joy is the medium of inspiration, we must confront vulnerability to learn the lessons necessary to overcome subconscious limitations that undermine expressing our optimal creative potential. Therefore, having a greater affinity to appeasing our unmet expectations sabotages our longing to feel worthy amidst imperfection and reinforces the self limiting perceptions that perpetuate being inauthentic . We cannot genuinely transcend and grow beyond the undesirable circumstances that elicit vulnerability without meeting our emotional needs during these occasions. Thus, feeling stuck in life typically results from avoiding vulnerability and subsequently not knowing how make different choices that generate a more favorable outcomes. We only feel lost in life when we are running from confronting the vulnerability of what we need from ourselves to feel worthy. As I ran to unhealthy relationships or shopping addiction to avoid releasing the perfectionist expectations that I clung to with my life, I lost a true vision of who I was. Self compassion honors our innate desire to feel good enough even when circumstances would lead us to believe otherwise. Practicing self compassion now enables me to detach my worth from external circumstances so I can feel safe within my own opinion. Not having this skill fourteen years ago led to trying to white knuckle life and subsequently being reluctant to expand my comfort zone. Living in a constant survival mode emotionally robs us of the ability to foster the passion and inspiration necessary to express greater creative potential that is always within us.

I have been blessed to discover the value of self compassion not only for my own healing but to share with all those seeking freedom from the lonely grips of inauthenticity. The vulnerability within rock bottom occasions can make it hard to believe in our own good loving nature unless we finally release the expectations that rendered us inauthentic. After years of internally fighting myself, the rock bottom moment that finally inspired me to reclaim my authentic nature was my escalating anger towards others. In a seemingly innocent moment of frustration, my justified retaliation made it impossible to continue endorsing my innate belief of being a compassionate person. It took self compassion not to hide my true desire for inner peace with an angry response. Don’t wait until a rock bottom moment to acknowledge how far your life may have steered from who you feel you are on the inside. If you are in the Edmonton, Canada area and want to explore how self compassion can strengthen your self confidence then join me for my first Self Compassion workshop on Sunday November 26, 2017 with a special launch price of $10. Click the link https://www.facebook.com/events/870819843099363/?ti=icl to RSVP as space is limited.

Taking life personally is a subconscious limitation.

One the easiest ways to shift our negative energy and raise our vibration is to look for the humor within an unhappy moment. For example, I am currently developing my first self compassion workshop and constantly quip at my growing  reality of committing more blunders than usual as an opportunity to hone my craft of practicing self kindness. The lens of humor detaches our identify from unfavorable circumstances and subsequently reveals the hidden potential about ourselves and the possibilities within a situation. Although I’ve always wanted to enjoy life and strived to maintain a positive outlook, I use to take things very personally and easily attached negative interpretations to people’s undesirable reactions. Finally overcoming this tendency earlier this year offers a new realization that taking life personally is one of the primary ways that we reinforce and internalize our own self limiting beliefs.

Stop believing a limitation.

I could not previously take something personally without also subconsciously accepting the negative implications as true. Hence, I was regularly accepting the perception that “people don’t like me”. Unfortunately, reacting from my ego in such situations prevented me from personally adopting the qualities (compassion, patience, kindness) that supported my own self acceptance and ability to shed my desire to be liked. Rather, I persisted to project my own negative beliefs as my interpretation of situations, justifying my resolve to continue to taking subsequent incidents personally. And naturally each projection sustained the cycle of internalizing greater self limiting beliefs and choosing more non-self loving reactions and so forth. Gradually, fostering the awareness not to attach negative implications to other people’s actions or my set back separates my own identity from the behaviors of others and unforeseen circumstances. Thus, I remain conscious of my intrinsic innate worth and sustain the emotional clarity to choose responses that continue to nurture the very qualities I was seeking from others. Having a more positive relationship myself has empowered me not be concerned about the opinions of others nor care if they like me. Overlooking the perceptions of others has played a pivotal role in embracing  my authentic nature and discovering greater passion and inspiration in life.

We need to stop fixating on others and taking life so personally to reclaim our authenticity and unlock the wisdom and gifts for expanding our fulfillment and abundance. Our power does not stem from what we think others owe us, but from our own capacity to become those ideals for ourselves. As one of my favorite poets Nayyirah Waheed writes “if someone does not want me, it is not the end of the world. But if I do not want me the world is nothing but endings.” Giving ourselves permission to step into the power of our true greatness is a process that requires tremendous believe in ourselves. Therefore a person must really commit to getting out of their own way by abandoning self limiting behaviors such as creating and internalizing  negative implications to undesired occurrences.

Humor offers us tremendous self awareness and insight about how to grow and release conditioned self sabotaging choices. One of the funniest insights that I’ve adopted about my journey of self re-discovery is that: “self rediscovery is sort of like buying back the presumed crappy items that I donated to Value Village for triple the cost”. The aspects of ourselves that we must reclaim to become more empowered and authentic were once  relegated as socially undesirable traits. It costs our ego a tremendous amount of humility and self awareness to resume embodying  those qualities unconditionally after being addicted to the opinions of others. I believe that this is a price that some people remain unwilling to pay and miss out on having the beautiful life that our souls desires and is able to create through authenticity. Don’t be your own biggest limitation by taking others and situations personally because doing so undermines our capacity to love ourselves. We are here to enjoy life, connect with others through service and live abundantly. All of which require immense self awareness and acceptance.

 

 

What maybe keeping you from discovering your higher purpose.

If you are currently searching to discover your soul’s highest expression of purpose and abundance then it may be more useful to identify the broader lifestyle choices that are hindering your capacity to gain your desired clarity. If your laser focus on tapping into your gifts continually comes up empty handed then you may actually be missing the bigger details that primes our mindset for  fulfilling our highest potential. Reflecting upon the times when I wasn’t connected to a deeper sense of life purpose, I can now discern the specific outlook that prevented me from being in alignment with my current passion for self development. Here are a couple universal components of fulfilling purpose that a person should first consider about their current lifestyle to determine if they possess the mindset that compliments  manifesting their highest purpose and abundance.

Are you willing to connect deeply with others?

Service is the crux of living purposefully and it represents our innate human desire to connect with others while sharing our gifts. Service grows from the notion of mutuality  and entails a desire to foster belonging by sharing the best aspect of our being with others unconditionally. Therefore, the best way to assess one’s readiness for a service mindset is to examine their willingness to create belonging and acceptance for others (strangers) in their routine interactions. And the best litmus for our propensity for connection is how one responds to other people’s egos since that is the part of our identity that intrinsically creates separation and estranges others. If a person’s default reaction is to be right, judge others or always insist on having their way then they haven’t yet adopted the desire to connect deeply with others, which is the underlying basis of sharing our gifts in a purposeful way. The desire to connect deeper with others is a key component of fulfilling greater purpose because it requires us to foremost love ourselves unconditionally. It’s through our own self acceptance that we no longer seek validation or worth through others and begin to see the humanity in others. Without having a service mindset, we still perceive that joy stems from what we expect to get from life, rather than what we can offer and share through our inspiration and creativity.

Are you ready to be yourself?

While the notion of “being yourself” is a popular message in our culture, it remains  an ambiguous concept that I did not fully understand until rediscovering my authentic nature this year. Being yourself means to be and embody the qualities that one would expect of others or act as they wish to be treated. What we demand or desire from others represents the subconscious criteria of our sense of similarity and belonging with others. Therefore, our expectations of others actually represent our repressed authentic nature that we seek to experience through others. I believe that pivotal life events left us feeling unloved or unapproved by others as we embraced certain aspects of ourselves and our vulnerability resolved not to showcase our authenticity unconditionally. Denying ourselves the joy that stems from our authentic self leads to seeking those traits in others. Thus, being yourself is not expecting anything from another person in order to feel happy, which is the essence of self love. The self acceptance that results from not needing the approval of others (family, friends, etc.) frees us to fearlessly express our own unique gifts.

The common thread between both of these criteria for fulfilling greater purpose is the willingness to go first in choosing love in our interactions. Purpose is our soul’s highest expression of love that we want to share unconditionally. Therefore without releasing the expectations/limitations on when we express love in our interactions, we will feel separate from others, which creates a subconscious fear of being ourselves or of true service to others.

 

Why letting go of expectations helps you grow.

It is my birthday today and it may have taken thirty six years but this Libran girl finally found her balance in life. Ironically, it came from letting go of all the expectations that I clung to for external stability. During the years when I frantically micro managed all aspects of my life, I would not have imagined my current ability to experience inner peace and joy amidst chaotic, unpredictable and the most challenging circumstances. Detaching my joy from external circumstances or labels enabled me to nurture the emotional qualities that make it easier to encounter  disappointment. This ability to feel worthy and at peace when outcomes do not unfold as expected constantly offers new  wisdom that subsequently enriches my creative potential. So today, my birthday wish for everyone to also discover the love, abundance and purpose that results from abandoning the expectations of who we must be, so that we can grow into our highest self and potential.

Expectations are self depleting.

I now understand that being attached to my prior expectations of validation, perfection and control undermined my conscious awareness of my intrinsic worth. Like many people, I subconsciously believed that I wasn’t as valuable if a desired outcome didn’t manifest, hence there was always an uncharted part of myself that I was fleeing from. For example, if didn’t get the grade I wanted, I first questioned my intelligence instead of simply resigning to apply more effort without criticizing myself. I took for granted that a self defeating dialogue that proceeded my disappointments actually hindered my capacity to sustain the momentum of my goals. In hindsight, the self critical version of myself was not courageous enough to rise to the occasion of thriving amidst challenges. Yet, there I was putting one foot in front the other, constantly reacting to appease every unmet expectation convinced that it was surely leading towards greater abundance and fulfillment. Unfortunately, the only destination that chasing external expectations lead to is internal unworthiness, distress and a repeated cycle of familiar woes.

Breaking the cycle of expectations.

We will never truly arrive at our desired fulfillment and abundance while chasing  validation, perfection control or certainty, etc,.  Pursuing those expectations externally prevents us from cultivating them internally and taking ownership of our happiness and life. Rather, I unknowingly lowered the bar of what it took to feel validated or perfect each time I emerged from my disappointments until I was gradually barricaded within my comfort zone with diminished fulfillment. This is that phase of limbo where many of us feel stuck or stifled in life because our subconscious attachment to our expectations blinds us to greater possibilities for expansion, while our authentic self is eagerly tugging at our soul to be freed. Our truest self is the ability to feel worthy under all circumstances, which requires detaching our happiness from all external expectations that are not within our control. Doing so, subsequently enables us to nurture the emotional qualities (kindness, compassion, patience, trust, etc) that allow us to still love ourselves when life isn’t validating, perfect, certain etc. The ability to feel worthy during undesirable outcomes makes us unafraid of unpredictable outcomes,  thus we remain motivated and inspired during set backs. Letting go of perfection has resulted in being more compassionate with myself, which in turn makes me less fearful of imperfect outcomes. Rather, the commitment to accept ourselves as unconditionally worthy eliminates the notion of failure all together and we simply get to be whatever it takes to grow into the size of our dreams. 

The journey to our authentic self begins by responding to every episode of emotional discontent in a manner that detaches our inner peace and joy from the particular unmet expectation. This is how we gain the wisdom of who we truly are and what we are capable of beyond external influences. 

“Recover your innocence, for she is an endless well of wisdom” .–I. Anana

I’ve always had an innate desire to make sense of everything but when I saw life from my ego, I directed my inquiry outward instead of understanding myself. But the answers that guide our personal journey reside with our authentic understanding/alignment with our highest self, therefore deciphering others is like writing the wrong test during an exam. We must know ourselves beyond our ego’s expectations in order to gain the true wisdom for our lives. After years of supposedly knowing it all, it was when I began seeing life through the lens of innocence that I discovered the wisdom and passion laying dormant in my consciousness. In what felt like an ordinary moment earlier this year, during my own sullen experience of misalignment, I briefly mourned the eventual loss of my angel’s innocence pondering the day that she too will shed her innate knowing that she is already enough. The sadness that followed that moment was the catalyst for my spiritual awakening and self rediscovery. I now understand that I was actually being inspired through divine intervention to mourn the loss of my own innocence and to rescue her from the fog of my ego mind.

You must mourn the loss of your innocence and commission a search party for her return. Put out her missing posters and knock on the doors of those who still remember her. Let them tell of how she was bold or gracious, knew what she wanted and went after it without fear. They will remind you that her imagination bore the greatest fantasies, she was full of curiosity, love and zeal. She sprinkled beauty and kindness everywhere she went and lifted the spirits of all those around her. Let them recall how she galloped with pride in her being and spoke her mind freely without doubt. Let your heart be moved by her legacy and weep that she has been buried alive. And as a loving parent who wouldn’t rest until the safe return of their missing child, you must find the courage to recover her. Fight for her in every waking moment of your day, knowing that when you choose to see life though the lens of love, you are one with your true and highest self.

“We are never lost, only disconnected”.–Ini Anana

“We do not need to be saved, only to awaken”–Ini Anana

My divine message a couple weeks ago was  “I AM INFINITE” and my reflections highlight that we lose ourselves by trying to define ourselves. Defining ourselves by external standards simplifies our identity to a binary of meeting our expectation (aka we succeed in being who we “think” we are) or not meeting our expectation and feeling at a loss of ourselves. This creates an internal hierarchy of worthiness within us of either feeling “less than” or being “good enough” Thus we become disconnected from ourselves by having a stronger attachment to chasing the expectations that will make us feel worthy before the judgement of others. We feel lost because of the wild goose chase of hunting for the next external thing that will bolster our worth. Ironically most people interpret this feeling as an indication that something is missing in them or in their life but this is our innate compass alarming us that we are running away from ourselves to our expectations. We figure that if just have a bigger house, loose more weight, have a better job, find a partner that we’ll feel better.

But without healing our attachment to the expectations of who we “think” we are, we cannot love ourselves and there remains infinite ways to feel unworthy even after we get the next best thing. Slight injunctions like impatience with my son or negative feedback were enough to dethrone me from my previous identification with perfection, inciting an internal sense of inadequacy. Detaching our joy from all expectations allows us to accept and forgive ourselves under all circumstances, which expands our self awareness. Subsequently, we feel empowered to make choices that support our growth instead of reacting to feel worthy before other people’s opinions. We cannot be “defined” by any measure, because we cannot own or always possess any “label” in this life. We are simply our ability to love because when we love, we are intentional and transcend all circumstances. Equating ourselves with any expectations places our power outside of ourselves, and there can be no joy in living such a life.

You are courageous and already have all the answers to fulfilling your highest life purpose for abundance if you look within and begin to ponder who you are within all the external distractions

“The Problem is the Solution to Your Evolution”–Ini Anana

Whenever we find ourselves unable to embrace our circumstances or struggles, we must ask ourselves “what am I resisting?” Consider the personal skill or trait you are avoiding or not embodying in your resistance to the situation. Are people taking advantage of you so you can learn to speak up for yourself? Are your interactions with your children or family strained in order to teach you the compassion that you are also lacking towards yourself? Were you humiliated to force you to stop caring about what others think? Your resistance to this particular quality is also essentially fighting/resisting yourself and limits your capacity to be good to yourself. Without developing this aspect of our character, we are choosing to impact/cater to the actions/opinion of others at our expense. If you live the rest of your life without nurturing this all important trait, you’ll never be good to yourself and subsequently will never be happier, more fulfilled or empowered than you are right now.

Expecting others or life to be perfect simply because we lack the courage to be good to ourselves will keep us stuck and living below our potential FOREVER. I’ve been given a new inspiration to develop a self-compassion workshop and would you believe that I’ve been experiencing the very situations that require me to be compassionate to myself instead of worrying about the perceptions of others. In the past however, I would have chosen to be distressed and pondered why life didn’t love me enough to make everything easier and perfect 🤷🏾‍♀️. Rather, I said “how’s this a good thing for my goals”? The reflection revealed that I may have taken the basics of self compassion for granted due to my committed spiritual growth, thus my current experiences is taking me through the “practical” and elementary knowledge to incorporate into my teachings. This approach opened my awareness beyond the immediate predicament, raised my vibration and propelled me into taking aligned actions. When you consider how your challenges are beneficial, it gives you a sense of control over them. Have the courage to ask the questions that will move you forward because your progress can’t occur against your willingness.

You are courageous and powerful, lean into your truth and potential.

Words of Wisdom to My Younger Self: This is What It Took To Become Authentic.

When you finally embrace your authentic self, you end up wishing that you would have begun the search much sooner. The desire to gain validation and my prior addiction to perfection distracted me from seeking my highest self and exploring more of my potential. Therefore, the distance to self rediscovery gets shorter once we begin putting ourselves first and realize that making others proud or happy is not more important than our own well being. While it’s true that everything happens in its own good time and we cannot force personal growth, life only gets shorter with time and we unfortunately spend too much energy trying to find ourselves in the wrong places. Sometimes, we miss growing into our gifts all together because of our subconscious self sabotaging habits. Having the clarity of my hindsight, I have some advice that I would give to my younger self about what it took to grow into the truest version of me. And for anyone else who has dared to ask themselves that million-dollar question of “who am I”, these are my words of wisdom on how to cultivate your most empowered self and authenticity.

Be truthful with yourself. 

I spent my twenties and half my thirties frequently making choices that did not honor the truth within my heart because I wanted approval at all costs. I entered and stayed in relationships that I shouldn’t have, said yes to opportunities that didn’t feel right and outright adopted a demeanor of fibbing to avoid unfavorable reactions or opinions. I assumed that the validation I would gain from the experiences or relationships in question would offset my internal discord. But I was wrong, every single time; living in a lie with myself to appease others has never made me happier in the long run. Rather choices that contradict our truth undermine our own opinion of ourselves, diminishes our self esteem and leads to not trusting our own judgement. The more difficult it is to make a decision that upholds our internal truth then the more esteem and trust that we will gain or lose in ourselves, depending on how we proceed. Living honestly with yourself builds up the confidence and belief in yourself to live your dreams.

Stop waiting.

You are already complete and good enough, so stop waiting for any experience or milestone to determine your happiness. I waited for education, jobs, relationships to feel worthy but until we stop defining ourselves by external expectations, we will waste our whole lives waiting for joy to happen to us. Pursuing our goals from a mindset of inadequacy often leads to playing safe or choosing other people’s version of success. We must already love and accept ourselves unconditionally in order to have the passion and tenacity to pursue our own unique gifts, which may not always be supported or understood by others. The very expectations that you are waiting for either circumstances or others to meet creates your false perception of not already being enough. Self acceptance frees us from the opinions of others, empowering us to follow our hearts and pursue our most authentic desires. Get up and do the things you’re putting off until you lose weight, have more money, have a spouse, a family because nothing completes our happiness if we are not happy now.

Ask for what you want.

The true mark of our independence is the ability to ask for what we want. My naivete associated vocalizing my true intentions as being needy or pushy but when I did not articulate my desires in relationships, friendships or other settings, I became resentful or emotionally dependent. Giving ourselves permission to ask for what we want enables us to take responsibility for our lives, instead of simply expecting others to anticipate our needs. When we do not speak up for what we need, our inherent entitlement diminishes our capacity to nurture a more open and genuine connection with others. You must speak up for what you desire, to receive what you deserve.

Explore your passion.

We begin adulthood determined to make our mark in life but I soon learned that after you leave academia and settle into professional role, life smaller and less fulfilling if you don’t allot energy into a passion or an endeavor for your own enjoyment. Expand your creative horizon if you don’t want to end up like those folks who are not as content in the same careers that they too once pursued with all of their young potential. Exploring our passion heightens our confidence and often expands our personal growth by providing the impetus for us to evolve outside of our comfort zones. When I did not actively engage in my passion for writing and sharing my ideas, I was caught in a limbo of restlessness and boredom. Pursuing our creative interest often requires us to be kind to ourselves, enhancing our self acceptance and sense of wholeness.

Be a champion of others.

We must genuinely celebrate and build others up to personally feel empowered to step out in pursuit of our own dreams. The constant need to be perfect and validated in my younger years led to not fully showing up for others but often meeting them with my judgmental ego. My critique of people’s mistakes or criticism of their imperfect choices contributed to my own reluctance to take risks and put myself out there. When we do not celebrate others, we internalize that it’s not socially safe to be bold and become afraid of also being judged and not supported. We discover our own strengths and bolster our character as we build others up and bring out the best in them. Our genuine encouragement of others diminishes the tendency for comparison, which reinforces our own awareness of also being enough. What we embrace in others becomes a mirror for what we cherish in ourselves and vice versa.

Be more vulnerable.

Without a doubt, vulnerability is the only means to self awareness, growth and experiencing true love. Yet, I avoided it for years because I did not know how to experience the pain of confronting my emotional vulnerability or shame. I would mentally jab at my weaknesses or failures with a ten-yard stick and judge myself through the perceptions of others. Experiencing my difficulties with my mind instead of my heart made me my own worse enemy and I would become less authentic as I tried harder to prove my worth. Now, I delve into my vulnerability heart first, showing myself the self compassion necessary to accept myself as worthy amidst my defeat and disappointment. Our willingness to be vulnerable with ourselves helps us to shed limiting beliefs, make decisions with clarity and become more accepting and connected to others.

Becoming the best version of ourselves is primarily a process of letting go of the conditioned expectations that diminish our authenticity. However, what I had to do more of, was to love. Mindfully choosing kindness and compassion in all my interactions reconnected me to my innate loving nature towards myself.

NI ANANA IS AN ASPIRING LIFE AND SELF DEVELOPMENT COACH IN EDMONTON, AB. LIKE STEEPING JOY ON FACEBOOK  FOR MORE SELF DEVELOPMENT INSIGHTS.